How to Become a Lobbyist

To become a lobbyist, you need to start by determining if a career in this field is right for you.

 

If you are interested in a career that utilizes your persuasive abilities, your networking abilities and your research skills, then working in this field may be a great choice for you.

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to get started and to succeed. We've also included general yet helpful information, such as job description, job duties, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education You May Need

Many entry-level jobs with organizations that hire lobbyists typically require applicants to have at minimum a bachelor degree in a relevant field, such as political science, communications, economics or public relations.

 

To succeed as a lobbyist, it is necessary to have skills and knowledge in areas such as communications, as well as the functioning of the political and legislative system; coursework that allows you to gain skills in these areas is of great value to a future career in this field.

 

 

 

 

What is a Lobbyist?

General job description

 

Lobbyists (also known as Government Relations Specialists) are responsible for developing and communicating the views of an organization to external stakeholders, such as trade associations and government agencies or legislative bodies.

 

They must fully understand the policy initiatives of regional, federal and international governing agencies in order to form a proper lobbying strategy to promote the interests of the organization they represent, and utilize their refined communications skills to persuade legislators to vote on public policy in favor of their clients’ interests.

 

 

What Do They Do?

General job duties

 

• Gain thorough understanding of clients’ interests as they relate to active legislation

• Use strong communications skills to reinforce and support clients’ position on specified issues

• Maintain knowledge of other interest groups that hold a similar position to that of the clients’

• Prepare press releases and other informational literature

• May present the client at news conferences and in other forms of media

• Respond to regulatory inquiries and testifying at public hearings

 

 

Who Hires Them?

There are many employers that are interested in utilizing the skills and knowledge of lobbyist in order to promote and represent their cause. Such types of employers may include:

 

• Public and private corporations

• Public Relations firms

• Consulting firms

• Federal, provincial and municipal governments

• Professional organizations and trade associations

• Health authorities

• Educational institutions

• Financial institutions

• Political and social organizations

• Industry organizations

• Scientific and research organizations

 

 

How to Get an Entry-Level Job in Lobbying

Most of those who become lobbyists begin their careers with volunteer or internship work on political campaigns for elected public officials, or as legislative staff on Capitol Hill/Parliament, in State Houses/Provincial Legislature or in governmental agencies as students or new graduates.  With this experience, prospective lobbyists can often move to the mid-level of organizations; without this experience, prospective lobbyists typically enter in lobbying via roles in research or in roles that support more senior staff.

 

 

 

 

Licensing Requirements

In the Canada and United States there are no licensing or certification requirements to become a lobbyist, however all lobbyists must register with the state (US) and federal governments.

 

 

Typical Working Conditions

Lobbyists typically work in an office setting with other members of their team. They spend a great deal of time performing research related to current and pending legislation, meeting with team members, reading industry publications and blogs, as well as composing presentations. They may travel to locations in close proximity to make speeches, give presentations, recruit new members or meet with government contacts and legislators.

 

Lobbyists typically work anywhere from 40 to 80 hours per week. In certain circumstances, such as if there is an important bill coming up for a vote, they may work very long hours and often late into the night.

 

 

Career Advancement Possibilities

Since you need refined communications skills and detailed working knowledge of the political system in order to become a lobbyist, it is often considered a mid-career position. There are however, opportunities for lobbyists to pursue other career options as a result of their skill set and competencies. It is not uncommon for lobbyists to become legislators or legislative aides. Former lobbyists also pursue careers as communications or public relations advisors, executives or consultants. 

 

 

Skills Needed to Be Successful

It takes a very unique and highly refined skill set to become a lobbyist. Those whom are successful posses a vast array of communications and public relations skills, as well as an expert knowledge base in their chosen field. Some examples of these skills include:

 

• Ability to create persuasive arguments

• Excellent negotiation skills

• Should be extroverted and inclined to networking

• A strong understanding of the political and legislative processes

• Must be able to work as a team

• Outstanding written and oral communication skills

• Willingness to work long hours

 

 

Job Postings

Our job board below has "Lobbyist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Typical Salary Level

The amount that lobbyists earn can vary greatly depending on many factors, such as their level of education, industry experience, their reputation, their contacts and many others. It can also vary widely depending on whether the lobbyist is representing a private organization, or a non-profit organization/special interest group, since job that involve representing private organizations often pay more.

 

Lobbyist Salary United States: According to Georgetown University, the salary range in lobbying can extend from the $20,000 to more than $150,000 with a median annual salary of $49,000.

 

 

Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a lobbyist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Campaign Manager

Communications Advisor

Global Warming Advocate

Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator

Ministerial Assistant

Public Relations Specialist

 

 

References

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this occupation.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Services website: alis.alberta.ca

Georgetown University website: www1.georgetown.edu

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada website: ocl-cal.gc.ca

Princeton Review website: www.princetonreview.com

University of Wisconsin - Madison website: www.sage.wisc.edu

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for relevant fields of study can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Lobbyist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 


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